I arrived in Bucharest, also known as the “Paris of Eastern Europe,” by land after a weekend in Bulgaria for the wedding of very close friends. Several guests and I had taken a taxi from Veliko Tarnavo and reached the Bucharest train station by mid-morning. While my travel companions departed to the Romanian countryside for 3 days, I embarked on a 24-hour solo trip into the city.
This splendid hotel is in the city center, only a stone’s throw from the University Plaza. During the 19th century, it was wildly popular among western Europeans visiting Romania as well as a gathering place of some of Romania’s great literary minds. The Casa Capsa was known best as a French style restaurant and confectionery. In the early 20th century, however, it became a meeting place for government officials and those particularly politically opposed to the freethinkers of its former frequenters. The hotel, complete with simple and well-designed rooms, was established in its present form more than a decade ago. Downstairs, the lobby was connected to the dining room of the famed Capsa Restaurant. There, I lunched on grilled fish, spinach and one of their famous confectionaries.
Casa Capsa is within a 10-15-minute walk to most tourist attractions on my itinerary like the Romanian Athenaeum, the Palace of Parliament and Cismigiu Gardens.
A Walk down Calea Victoriei
Calea Victoriei is one of the main avenues in Bucharest. Along it stands striking buildings with some of the most beautiful architecture you’ve seen in this part of the world. Head south on Calea Victoriei and you will make your way to the city center, toward the Romanian Athenaeum, then the National Museum. On the steps on the Museum stands the iconic Trajan and the She-wolf. Even further will bring you to the Dambovita River, and just beyond stands the gargantuan Parliamentary Palace. The Palace is the second largest office building in the world, it has 1,100 rooms and hourly tours take place from the back entrance.
If on Calea Victoriei, head north and you will stumble upon municipal buildings, churches, stores, parks and museums: each with a distinct style, but they blend together to present a baronial cacophony of architectural elegance.